AD ALTA JOURNAL OF I NTERDISCIPLINA RY RESEARCH
ANALYSIS OF INTERGENERATIONAL POLICY MODELS
Collegium of Socio-Economic Policy, Warsaw School of
Economics, al. Niepodłeglości 162, 02-554 Warszawa, Poland
Abstract: Contemporary demographic processes forcing increasing attention to the
problems of relationships and dependencies between the different age groups. The
ageing of the population in each society leads to changes in the contacts between
young people, adults and the elderly. It is reasonable to undertake research on the
concept of “solidarity of generations”. Maintaining relationships without generational
conflict requires action s in the field of social po licy known as intergenerational po licy.
Aim of this article is to present some of its models, which allow not only to analyze
the changes in the various commun ities, but also t o create recomme ndations for pu blic
intervention. Description will include activities at the international, national, regional
and local levels.
Keywor ds: intergenerational policy; policy analysis; social po licy towards old age and
older people; society for all ages; strategic management.
One of the key challenges for the European Union at the
beginning of the 21st century is the rapid ageing its population.
This process leads to long-term changes in the intergenerational
relationships. The growing number of older people can be
considered either as a threat or as an opportunity to improve the
quality of life. On the one hand, it is noted that it leads to
negative losses in the labor market, problems with maintaining
health systems and pensions. On the other demographic change
forces the investment in architecture free from functional
barriers, lifelong learning, adapting products and services to
meet the needs of the elderly. Particularly important is topic of
changes in the relationship between young people, adults and
elderly. To avoid the risk of intergenerational conflict and reduce
the scale of age discrimination is necessary to manage
relationships between the generations through the interventions
of this social issues by public, private and non-governmental
entities. Coordination of goals and objectives can by regulated
by models of intergenerational policy. Aim of the article is to
present some models that can be used both for research activities
in each country at different levels of the social structure, as well
as to create specific recommendations and action plans.
2 Intergenerational policy models
Under the concept of generation can be interpreted most
generally community of “individuals belonging to the age group
of people born at about the same time”1, or otherwise: “people
born in the same period (usually within one year), which social
and/or demographic characteristics are considered analytically in
Pros P. Szukalski can be identified types of relations between
generations3. These are intergenerational: relationship, bond,
solidarity and contract (table 1). While relationships and contract
are terms value-free, while bond and solidarity are positive
characterized. Researcher also points to derivatives concepts,
which have positive connotations (integration) and negative
(war, conflict, disintegration)4. It should be noted that the
presence of contradictions existing between them leads to
concept of “intergenerational ambivalence“ – coexistence of the
different attitudes and ways of thinking about relationships
between both micro (individual families) and macro (entire
1 K. Olechnicki, P. Załęcki, Słownik socjologiczny, Graffiti BC, Toruń 2002, p. 29.
2 A.A. Zych, Leksykon gerontologii, Impuls, Kraków 2007, p. 61.
3 P. Szukalski, Czym jest solidarność międzypokoleniowa?, [in:] D. Kałuża, P.
Szukalski (eds.), Jakość życia seniorów w XXI wieku z perspekty wy polityki
społecznej, Wyd. Biblioteka, Łódź 2010, p. 74-91; P. Szukalski, Solidarność pokoleń.
Dylematy relacji międzypokolenio wych, Wyd. Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego, Łódź 2012, p.
4 P. Szukalski, Solidarność pokoleń…, op. cit., p. 49-50.
Table 1. Types of intergenerational relationships and their scope
Concept Key features
between individuals or groups
from different generations
sense of biological, cultural,
with other generations,
positive attitudes towards
individuals of other
mutual responsibility towards
other generations, considering
their activities, interest, needs
and opinions by other
written or not rules of
redistribution of social status
(wealth, power, prestige)
between the generations
Source: based on P. Szukalski, Czym jest solidarność
międzypokoleniowa?, [in:] D. Kałuża, P. Szukalski (eds.), Jakość życia
seniorów w XXI wieku z perspektywy polityki społecznej, Wyd. Biblioteka,
Łódź 2010, p. 87-88; P. Szukalski, Solidarność pokoleń. Dylematy relacji
międzypokoleniowych, Wyd. Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego, Łódź 2012, p. 47-
Through the intergenerational policy could be understood
collections of activities focused on the development and
implementation of a specific contract between the generations.
This policy applies to establishing and maintaining “regime” –
rules defining the shape of relationships between generations,
written or not, the principles present in law, religion, ethics and
customs5. This policy includes conducting the discourse,
negotiating use of ethical and ideological arguments on the
scales, orientations and traces of resources redistribution
between generations. This policy may be forced upon by force or
through symbolic violence by one generation to others, as well
as co-created through dialogue.
Literature review enables indicating at least five models of
intergenerational policy. The first three of them allow primarily work
on theoretical and research work on actions in this area
(intergenerational social integration; linking strategies of social
policy towards old age and elderly people; intergenerational policy
dimensions). While the next two refer to interventions promoted and
supervised by international organizations (United Nations; European
2.1 Intergenerational social integration
Intergenerational social integration are activities aimed at the
consolidation, merger individuals and groups representing
different generations, and thus increase relationships strength
and solidartity of generations6. These actions relate to raising
awareness of generations interdependence and take into account
the effects of choices and actions of individuals and groups from
one generation to another. Integration indirectly affects the
intergenerational contract rules.
To the analysis of integration can be used concept of C. Offe,
which points to its cultural, economic and political forms and
manifestations on the macro-, meso- and micro-structural levels
of society (table 2)7. This approach allows drawing attention to
generational differences such as division of labor, as recognized
means of conflict resolution, governance institutions, rule of law,
5 Compare: P. Szukalski, Solidarność pokoleń…, op. cit., p. 48.
6 Compare: P. Szukalski, Czym jest solidarność międzypokoleniowa?, op. cit., p. 87; P.
Szukalski, Solidarność pokoleń…, op. cit., p. 49.
7 C. Offe, Drogi transformacji, PWN, Kraków 1999, p. 183-184.
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access to voting rights, activities of work and leisure time, in the
use of media technology and accumulation of cultural heritage8.
C. Offe concept underscores also meso-structural level - between
the state and family, and by this generation analysis and
integration activities in local communities, political parties, non-
governmental organizations and professional corporations.
Table 2. Forms and levels of social integration
Symptoms of integration at different levels of
Macro Meso Micro
reflected in the
in its actions
are guided by
basis for social
meet the needs
of material and
presence of the
and needs of
clients of the
on the basis of
of law and
their rights in
action and wise
Source: C. Offe, Drogi transformacji, PWN, Kraków 1999, p. 184.
2.2 Linking strategies of social policy towards old age and
Model proposed by Z. Woźniak can be considered as a broader
concept that allows to design and analysis of intergenerational
policies. It concerns social policy towards old age and elderly
people understood as “ a set of goals, strategies and actions of
systemic and legislative action, both at the national, regional and
local levels in order to maintain and/or improving the social
status and living conditions of the elderly, to increase their
ability to lead an active and independent life”9.
This model assumes a combination of four strategies that should
include general and specific tasks (drawing 1). These are: (1)
“add years to life” – short-term, intervention-insurance, oriented
to dealing with shortages, replenishment of social deficits and
rescue; (2) “add health to years” – mid-term (5-10 years),
insurance-compensation, including preventive and promotional
programs for anticipate negative phenomena, events and
processes, mainly relating to health; (3) “add life to years” –
perennial compensating-participatory strategy, including
prevention programs on preparing for old age, ability for self-
care, improving quality of life, adressed to oldest of seniors
groups; (4) “towards intergenerational solidarity” – long-term,
participatory-integration, dominant strategy in the future using
“Society For All Ages” concept – adaptation to the needs,
8 Compare: A. Klimczuk, Bariery i perspektywy int egracji międzypokoleniowej we
współczesnej Polsce, [in:] D. Kałuża, P. Szukalski (eds.), Jakość życia seniorów w XXI
wieku z perspektywy polityki społecznej , Wyd. Biblioteka, Łódź 2010, p. 94-95, 103.
9 Z. Woźniak, Priorytety w programach gerontologicznych organizacji
międzynarodowych i struktur europejskich jako przesłanka budowy polityki społecznej
wobec starości i osób starszych, [in:] M. Szlązak (ed.), Starzenie się populacji
wyzwaniem dla polityki społecznej. Materiały konferencyjne, ROPS, Kraków 2003, p.
abilities and skills of all citizens, and activating as well as using
the potential of the various generations.
Drawing 1. Strategies of social policy considering old age and
Source: Z. Woźniak, Priorytety w programach gerontologicznych
organizacji międzynarodowych i struktur europejskich jako przesłanka
budowy polityki społecznej wobec starości i osób starszych, [in:] M.
Szlązak (ed.), Starzenie się populacji wyzwaniem dla polityki społecznej.
Materiały konferencyjne, ROPS, Kraków 2003, p. 28.
Intergenerational policy can therefore be considered as a
combination of several approaches and direction of change in the
design of specific programs and strategies.
2.3 Intergenerational policy dimensions
A different approach propose J. Sáez, S. Pinazo and M. Sánchez
by indicating the intergenerational policy dimensions10.
According to the researchers this concept emerges through the
implementation of development projects, generations
cooperation as well as work of research entities and institutions
in carrying out intergenerational projects under certain
conditions. Interdependence among generations refers to the
integration of the three dimensions: place of life, life cycle and
life project (drawing 2). Those dimmesnionsion correspond to:
environments which facilitate the intergenerational relations,
interpretations and stereotypes about stages of life as well as
visions of the future showing individuals their rights and
opportunities in the case of losing different types of resources.
Intergenerational policy should include joined together strategies
and programs for: in the first dimension, environmental and
architectural policies, in a second (inter)cultural and educational
policies as well as in the third economics, labour and healthcare
policies. It should also take into account the decisions agreed
upon by many stakeholders, ethical explanation of the meaning
of actions and practical possibilities of their implementation11.
Discussed concept can be used for policy analysis at central,
regional and local. Indirectly, also points to building solidarity of
generations by adjusting to people of all ages, not only the life of
individual families, but also public spaces significant for local
communities (municipalities, districts). It is possible to create (or
convert existing) facilities and institutions as “intergenerational
shared sites“, as a those which meet at the same time the needs
of children, youth and seniors, as welll as serve to shape their
relationship12. This includes a joint running nursing homes and
kindergartens, senior clubs and schools, homes for the elderly
and homeless mothers, day care for seniors and child
development centers, retirement and academic communities.
Programs of this kind will help to stimulate the exchange
between the generations and create a number of benefits to the
participants and their environment (table 3).
10 J. Sáez, S. Pinazo, M. Sánchez, Fostering intergenerational policies, [in:] M.
Sánchez (eds.), Intergenerational programmes. Towards a society for all ages, “la
Caixa” Foundation, Barcelona 2007, p. 186-191.
11 Ibidem, p. 200.
12 S.E. Jarrott, A.P.C. Weintraub, Intergenerational shared sites: A practical model,
[in:] M. Sánchez (eds.), Intergenerational programmes…, op. cit., p. 139.
LABOUR MARKET, GOODS, SERVICES AND B ENEFITS
Add health to
SOCIAL POLICY STRATEGIES TO SENIORS
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Drawing 2. Key dimensions of intergenerational social policies
Source: J. Sáez, S. Pinazo, M. Sánchez, Fostering intergenerational
policies, [in:] M. Sánchez (eds.), Intergenerational programmes. Towards
a society for all ages, “la Caixa” Foundation, Barcelona 2007, p. 202.
Table 3. Benefits of intergenerational exchange
• Better mood,
more vitalit y
• Increased ability
to cope with physical
and mental illness
perception of self-worth
• Opportunities to
• Escape from
appreciation for their
• Reintegration in
the family and
• Friendships with
• Receipt of
practical help, such as
for shopping or
• Spending time
with young people
combats feelings of
• Increased self-
este em and mo tivation
experie nces with an
• Respect, honour
and recog nition o f their
contr ibution to the
• Learning about
• Development of
skills, especially social
skills and the use of
• Transm itting
traditions, culture and
• Enjoy themselves
in physica l activities
• Exposure to
• Increased strength
to cope with adversity
• Increased sense of
worth, self-esteem and
• Less loneliness
and isolat ion
• Access to adult
support at difficult
• Enhanced sense of
soc ial respo nsibilit y
• More positive
perception of older
• Greater awareness
of the heterogeneity of
• More practical
• Better school
• Better reading
• Less involvement
in violence and drug
• Better health
• More opt imism
• Strengt h in times
• Increased sense of
civic and community
• Learning about
one’s history and
origins and the history
of ot hers
• Building o ne’s
own life history
• Enjoyment and
• Gain respect for
the achie vements of
• Receive support
for one’s own
• Alternative leisure
activities to cope with
drugs, violence and
• Reconstruction of
soc ial works
• Development of
sense of co mmunity
• Construction of a
more inclu sive society
• Breaking down
• Enhanced social
• Construct and
strengt hen culture
• Relieve parental
• Build soc ial
networks and develop
bridges in the
• Provide c ivic
• Build, maintain
opport unities and
• Produce public art
• Develop volunteer
volunte ers for
and encourage people
to work with others in
• Create stories in
• Care for the
Source: based on J. MacCallum (et al), Community building through
intergenerational exchange programs, NYARS, Canberra 2006; cited by:
S. Pinazo, M. Kaplan, The benefits of intergenerational programmes, [in:]
M. Sánchez (eds.), Intergenerational programmes. Towards a society for
all ages, “la Caixa” Foundation, Barcelona 2007, p. 72, 75, 84.
2.4 United Nations “Society For All Ages“ concept
Proposed actions for solidarity of generations are also created by
international organizations. At this point, attention should paid
only to the most important ones. First of all, intergenerational
policies are accompanied by promoting active ageing policy –
concept disseminated since the 90s mainly due to the World
Health Organization, which combines the desire to maintain the
productivity of older people with their quality of life as well as
mental and physical well-being. This policy stresses the need to
reduce age discrimination, multidimensional education and
citizen participation in protecting the economic, political and
social rights of elderly which is conducive to improve health and
address actions to family and local communities13.
Drawing 3. Flow between elements and capitals in framework
for a “Society For All Ages“
Source: Highlights of an expert consultation on developing a policy
framework for a society for all ages - From the Annex of A54/268 - Report
of the Secretary General International Year of Older Persons 1999:
activities and legacies, United Nations,
At the global level both of these policies are part of “Madrid
International Plan of Action on Ageing“ which is coordinated
since 2002 by the United Nations and which contains
recommendations for national governments14. The core of this
approach is the created by UN concept in 90s “Society For All
Ages” (drawing 3)15. Generally, it assumes: (1) use and
reinvestment in the life cycle a human, socio-cultural, economic
and environmental capitals; (2) adaptation of families,
communities and countries infrastructure into of the
demographic structure; as well as (3) carrying out activities on
behalf of: active ageing, lifelong learning, promote healthy
lifestyles, intergenerational relations integration, flexibility of
labor markets, the development of age-friendly envintoments,
civil society development, sustainable social policies to prevent
poverty and exclusion the elderly.
2.5 European Union concept of “Silver economy”
In the European Union debate on active ageing was spurred in
1999 in Communication “Towards a Europe for All Ages -
13 Active Ageing. A Policy Framework, WHO, Geneva 2002.
14 Report of the Second World Assembly on Ageing Madrid. Madrid International Plan
of Action on Ageing, United Nations, New York 2002.
15 Highlights of an expert consultation on developing a policy framework for a society
for all ages - From the Annex of A54/268 - Report of the Secretary General
International Year of Older Persons 1999: activities and legacies, United Nations,
Investments in older persons, in earlier stages of life, in
families and communities and in macro-level institutions
can generate the ca pital needed to sustain ageing per sons
as agents and ben eficiaries and for reinvestmen t back
into socie ty for continuin g development
Social policies based on intergenerational factors
Interdependence among generations
related to place of
(social site of
sense of bel onging
to a place, to an
related to life cycle
(the time of
intergeneration of the
ages as a continuum)
related to life
rights of p eople,
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AD ALTA JOURNAL OF I NTERDISCIPLINA RY RESEARCH
Promoting Prosperity and Intergenerational Solidarity”16 issued
on the occasion of the celebration of the UN International Year
of seniors as well as in 2012 by the organization European Year
for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.
Intergenerational policies and active ageing are disseminated for
a number spheres of socio-economic life 17. Noteworthy in relation
to the labor market are age management programs in
organizations as part of a broader strategy for diversity
managing18. The essence of the the proposed changes is taking
into account differences in age of employees in the processes:
recruitment, training, development and promotion; flexible
forms of employment and ergonomic design of work stations, as
well as change in attitudes towards older workers.
Another, more complex, recommended by the European
Commission approach is to build a “silver economy”19. Wherein
as the researchers of this phenomenon note is not only the
market of goods and services for the wealthy elderly, but also
special arrangements for trade between economic operators to
allow adaptation to the ageing workforce; as well as ideas of
“universal design” and “intergenerational relations” aimed at
adaptation of goods and services to people of all ages, physical
and cognitive capabilities, which can lead to improve social
The purpose of the article was to present selected models of
intergenerational policy. It is a concept of social policy related to the
ageing of the population, which specifically refers to the maintenance
of good relations between the generations of young people, adults
and elderly. Intergenerational policy allows to take action at different
levels of society aimed at preventing and mitigating the effects of
generational conflict as well as age discrimination. Discusses five
models - three for the research and construction recommendations, as
well as two models promoted and controlled by international
It is reasonable to identify a number of practical recommendations
for action arising from the review. Given the increase of
multigenerationality it is reasonable to continue to support activities
intergenerational integration and policy. This approach should be
taken into account in the specific policies (including population,
family, education, migration). It is important to make efforts for the
development of the national silver economy models, taking into
account more activities in line with the policy of innovation.
Intergenerational policies should aim to increase the benefits of
cooperation by elderly (grandparents) and young (grandchildren) and
their social environment. It is appropriate to take into account in the
proposed actions solutions for eliminating overlapping generations
divisions on territorial dimmesnion and with situation on the labor
The following directions for further research on solidarity of
generations may be proposed. Reasonable are studies on scale and
signs of disintegration in intergenerational relations in particular of
social, cultural, economic and political spheres. Presented models
allows construction of discourse analysis on intergenerational
policies and contracts as well as changes in the life cycle. Analyze of
16 Communication from the Commission. Towards a Europe for All Ages - Promoting
Prosperity and Intergenerational Solidarity, COM(1999) 221, Brussels, 21.05.1999.
17 Dimensio ns of intergenerat ional policies and active age ing in the EU include:
European Employme nt Strategy, Open Metho d of Coordination on social protection
and social inclusion, fight against age discrimination, policy of equal opportunities for
people with disabilities and gender equality, promotion of social innovation, public
health and physical activity, accessibility and mobility, ICT for the elderly, lifelong
learning. See: The EU contribution to active ageing and solidarity between
generations, European Commission, Luxembourg 2012.
18 A. Walker, Active ageing in employment. Its meaning and potential, “Asia-Pacific
Review”, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2006, p. 89.
19 According to the European Commission’s silver economy is a concept that refers to
“a combination of good delivery conditions (high levels of education, research and
development, sensitive and flexible markets) with the increasing purchasing power of
older consumers, which offers great opportunities for new economic growth”. See:
Europe’s demographic future. Facts and figures on challenges and opportunities,
European Commission, Luxembourg 2007, p. 96.
20 See: A. Klimczuk, Supporting the Development of Gerontechnology as Part of
Silver Economy Building, “Ad Alta: Journal of Interdisciplinary Research”, Vol. 2. Iss.
2. 2012, p. 52-56.
compatibility of national strategy papers on solidarity of generations
with recommendations of international organizations are needed.
Research is also needed on the possible development of a common
intergenerational relations spaces in local communities.
1. Active Ageing. A Policy Framework. Geneva: WHO, 2002.
2. Communication from the Commission. Towards a Europe
for All Ages - Promoting Prosperity and Intergenerational
Solidarity. COM(1999) 221. Brussels: 21.05.1999. 26p.
3. Europe’s demographic future. Facts and figures on
challenges and opportunities. Luxembourg: European
Commission 2007. 184 p. ISBN 978-92-79-07043-3.
4. Highlights of an expert consultation on developing a policy
framework for a society for all ages - From the Annex of
A54/268 - Report of the Secretary General International
Year of Older Persons 1999: activities and legacies. United
5. Jarrott, S.E., Weintraub, A.P.C. Intergenerational shared
sites: A practical model, [in:] M. Sánchez (eds.),
Intergenerational programmes. Towards a society for all
ages. Barcelona: „la Caixa” Foundation, 2007. 125-147p.
6. Klimczuk, A. Bariery i perspektywy integracji
międzypokoleniowej we współczesnej Polsce, [in:] D.
Kałuża, P. Szukalski (eds.), Jakość życia seniorów w XXI
wieku z perspektywy polityki społecznej. Łódź: Wyd.
Biblioteka, 2010. 92-107 p. ISBN 978-83-62378-08-1.
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9. Pinazo, S., Kaplan, M. The benefits of intergenerational
programmes, [in:] M. Sánchez (eds.), Intergenerational
programmes. Towards a society for all ages. Barcelona: „la
Caixa” Foundation, 2007. 64-91p.
10. Report of the Second World Assembly on Ageing Madrid.
Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. New York:
United Nations, 2002. 73p. ISBN 92-1-130221-8.
11. Sáez, J., Pinazo, S., Sánchez, M. Fostering
intergenerational policies, [in:] M. Sánchez (eds.),
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ages. Barcelona: „la Caixa” Foundation, 2007. 184-203p.
12. Szukalski, P. Czym jest solidarność międzypokoleniowa?,
[in:] D. Kałuża, P. Szukalski (eds.), Jakość życia seniorów w
XXI wieku z perspektywy polityki społecznej. Łódź: Wyd.
Biblioteka, 2010. 74-91p. ISBN 978-83-62378-08-1.
13. Szukalski, P. Solidarność pokoleń. Dylematy relacji
międzypokoleniowych. Łódź: Wyd. Uniwersytetu
Łódzkiego, 2012. 206p. ISBN 978-83-7525-694-9.
14. The EU contribution to active ageing and solidarity between
generations. Luxembourg: European Commission 2012.
24p. ISBN 978-92-79-25123-8.
15. Walker, A. Active ageing in employment. Its meaning and
potential. „Asia-Pacific Review”, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2006. 78-
16. Woźniak, Z. Priorytety w programach gerontologicznych
organizacji międzynarodowych i struktur europejskich jako
przesłanka budowy polityki społecznej wobec starości i osób
starszych, [in:] M. Szlązak (ed.), Starzenie się populacji
wyzwaniem dla polityki społecznej. Materiały konferencyjne.
Kraków, ROPS: 2003. 14-33p. ISBN 83-918380-1-3.
17. Zych, A.A. Leksykon gerontologii. Kraków: Impuls 2007.
276p. ISBN 978-83-7308-708-8.
Primary Paper Section: A
Secondary Paper Section: AD, AE, AO
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